2001 Women's Peacepower Awards

11/13/01

Interview with six winners of the 2001 Women's Peacepower Awards. Peacepower is an organization dedicated to peaceful social change. The group, headquartered in Dade City, gave out 20 awards this year. Six of the winners were interviewed this hour:

Mandisa Monakali, Capetown, South Africa

In the late 1980's and Capetown was rife with an ungovernable government and widespread civil unrest. Most black townships had strict confinement and curfews. The youth were at the forefront of the "struggle" and among them was Mandisa Monakali. Tired of seeing the men in politics fighting and paying lip service and the women afraid to interfere or risk becoming the victim of domestic violence, Mandisa, at great personal risk, started Ilitha Labantu and ran it out of her own home. Her organization assisted the women and children survivors of domestic

violence. She offers support and education around violence against women and children. She also started training programs and workshops centered on individual and community development and the legacy of apartheid. Her grassroots group now has 8 offices in various areas in South Africa and employs 20 counselors. Her group is credited with finally having women hired as police officers. The female officers are now involved with special units that deal with victims of rape and abuse.

Gail Hollar, Arlington, Texas

Gail is a dentist who was surprised to hear that the students in a patient's second-grade class were so poor that they didn't even own toothbrushes. Gail Said, "Some of these kids were in constant pain from tooth decay and were having trouble eating and sleeping. Gail says that

severe decay leads to lethargy, irritability and an overall inability to thrive. Gail spent $1,500 of her own money on toothbrushes for kids. Soon after, she joined a group of dentists to form a not-for-profit organization, Dental Health for Arlington, which set up a free dental clinic. Since 1993 the organization has helped over 40,000 children. Gail set up its preventive-education program, giving toothbrushes and oral-hygiene instruction to 5,000 kids a year. In 1998 she and a few other dentists ran a screening for 15,000 people in cooperation with Mission Arlington an association of 70 churches. Last year she sold her practice to devote herself solely to aiding the indigent. She is living off her savings in order to help others.

Gail Hollar - childsmile1@earthlink.

  Angie Thompson, Deerfield, Florida 

Angie traveled to Romania to do relief work with her church group in the

early 1990's. What she saw were children growing up without parents,

without homes and without education. She gave up her high-paying job in

Silicon Valley; sold everything she owned and started an organization to

help the street children of Romania. The street kids all know her by

name. She brings them food, clothes and gets them much needed medical

attention and a hug from possibly the only adult that has ever cared for

them before in their lives. She takes home any children that are willing

to give up the streets.

Based out of an office in Florida, and with a partner in Romania, Angie

has opened two orphanages for the children who are living in sewers and

on park benches. The first is called "Villa of Hope" and houses 23

boys. The second is "City of Hope" for girls. Angie is in the process of

building a 200-bed village over the next two years. Angie offers them a

place to live, education, and the chance for a better life. With an

estimated 2000 children living in the city streets of Bucharest, Angie

knows she can't save them all. But she plans to save all she can.

U.S.

  1. Lucinda Stowe, Zanesville, Ohio

Lucinda feels she broke the cycle of violence in her life by determining

that she was going to help other people who were experiencing violence

in the Zanesville area by sharing her own experiences as a battered

woman. Zanesville is the largest populated area in a 16-county area

that makes up Appalachia Ohio. She speaks to groups on violence.

In early 2001 she founded a new project, Common CENTS - Community

Efforts Needed to Survive. The role of her program is to facilitate a

volunteer support group for women experiencing violence in their lives.

She envisions creating several informal gatherings so that people who

are abused have an opportunity to come together to talk as friends. She

also wants to create an art therapy project. Lucinda was quoted in the

TIMES RECORDER as saying, "I'm taking the negative and turning it into a

positive. Because if I don't who else will?"

She gathers clothing and household items for people who are leaving

their violent situations. She has created a lending closet. She feels

her volunteer efforts will put a face on the issues of family violence

in her rural community.

Nina Burwell - Northstar92@juno.com1. Nina Burwell, Sarasota, Florida

Nina volunteered her time to create and initiate "Yes You Can", at

Cohen's Way, a Sarasota housing project. The 2-year old program teaches

children the benefits of cultural diversity, peacemaking skills for

conflict resolution and tolerance for different points of view. Nina's

fortitude and endurance along with her ability to form liaisons within

both the black and white community has resulted in a very successful

program, which helps to develop global citizens while providing a safe

place for children to learn. 5. Wendy Loomas, St. Petersburg, Florida

Wendy is the Violence Prevention Coordinator at the Pinellas County

Health Department. She also has been volunteering her time for over 15

years in the area of non-violence and advocacy work. She has organized

demonstrations against violence, worked with the press, spoken to

organizations, as well as provided training to groups in consensus

decision-making and non-violence. She walked across the US in the Great

Peace March.

She has collaborated with agencies to implement programs related to

violence prevention, community mediation and to improve screening for

domestic violence in the county health departments. She has served as a

co-facilitator for the interagency agreements between domestic violence

centers and the child protection system as well as coordinating an

emergency response system for work place violence incidents in Pinellas

County.

       Her latest projects (which she has certification for) are 

teaching people how to safely intervene when they see a child in their

neighborhood or community that is being abused, neglected or in any

other kind of danger and offering no-cost mediation services to the

community outside the court system to prevent disagreements from

escalating.

"Yes You Can" averages 16 to 20 children per day and each child is

provided a meal to children upon arriving at the center. The children

receive homework assistance if needed, reading and math enhancement, art

and music lessons, games, dance, computing and many other options.

Wendy Loomas - Wendy_Loomas@doh.state.fl.us 5. Wendy Loomas, St. Petersburg, Florida

Wendy is the Violence Prevention Coordinator at the Pinellas County

Health Department. She also has been volunteering her time for over 15

years in the area of non-violence and advocacy work. She has organized

demonstrations against violence, worked with the press, spoken to

organizations, as well as provided training to groups in consensus

decision-making and non-violence. She walked across the US in the Great

Peace March.

She has collaborated with agencies to implement programs related to

violence prevention, community mediation and to improve screening for

domestic violence in the county health departments. She has served as a

co-facilitator for the interagency agreements between domestic violence

centers and the child protection system as well as coordinating an

emergency response system for work place violence incidents in Pinellas

County.

       Her latest projects (which she has certification for) are 

teaching people how to safely intervene when they see a child in their

neighborhood or community that is being abused, neglected or in any

other kind of danger and offering no-cost mediation services to the

community outside the court system to prevent disagreements from

escalating.

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